The full concept is : Perhaps the right proportion of "chatty, open-ended questions" helps to engage and enliven community members who are then more likely to provide better answers?
Just a hunch.
I've noticed tons of questions on the front page, with no answers. It just makes the site look dead.
It's true that diluting the purposeful questions with chat-soup diminishes the usefulness of the site, but there may be some "supporting functions" required to maintain a level of enthusiasm that actually supports that usefulness. People don't just answer questions out of a noble desire to be useful, and in a loosely connected community (not the core networks but the more peripheral multitudes), rep points are not really revered marks of status.
A minimum level, or right balance may be required. Salt in the soup, so to speak. It may or may not be an essential nutrient, but it is a required spice. Otherwise, people look for other soup kitchens...and, ah, the cheapest and quickest substitutes are like fast food of the net...McYoutube, at the other end of the spectrum of useful entirely.
Also lately I've felt my own questions are less likely to get answered than before...What is happening to stackoverflow, or is it just a change of seasons (or algorithms)?
EDIT Seems I really missed (or pissed off) the zeitgeist on this one.